‘What the f—k you gonna do?’: Shaquille O’Neal recalls important exchange he had with Dwyane Wade

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Former Miami Heat big man and NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal revealed that he and star guard Dwyane Wade had a heated conversation during the 2006 NBA Finals.

O’Neal wasn’t playing to his usual standards in the first two games of the series, scoring just five points in Miami’s Game 2 loss. From there, he told Wade to take over.

“In the Finals, we went down 0-2,” he said. “We had a respectful conversation. ‘Hey man, I’m gettin’ f—— double-teamed. I’m goin’ through a f—— divorce. I’m not playin’ good. What the f— you gonna do? Don’t be lookin’ for me. Motherf—–, go to work.’ And then he just turned it up, and that was how I was able to get No. 4 ’cause I was playin’ terrible.”

O’Neal revealed that Gary Payton and Udonis Haslem were also a part of the conversation with Wade as well.

“We had a respectful, hardcore conversation,” O’Neal said. “And me, G.P. and Udonis…we put him in a room, like, ‘Yo man, the f— you gonna do?’”

O’Neal said that Wade “unleashed something” after that exchange, and the Heat ultimately went on to become NBA champions.

Wade was terrific in each of Miami’s wins, as the team took the next four games against the Dallas Mavericks to capture the first title of Wade’s career. He scored at least 36 points in every matchup from Game 3 through Game 6, including 43 points in a one-point Miami win in Game 5.

A three-time champion by the end of his NBA career, Wade had 36 points in that deciding Game 6. He averaged 34.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 46.8 percent from the field for the entire series, earning the NBA Finals MVP award.

While O’Neal clearly gave Wade a ton of credit for helping him get his fourth ring in his NBA career, the Hall of Fame center also played better in the final four games of the 2006 NBA Finals.

O’Neal scored 16, 17 and 18 points in Games 3 through 5 in Miami, and he finished the series averaging 13.7 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

Even though O’Neal is seen as one of the most dominant players of all time, he still recognized when he needed to defer to Wade to help Miami win the series.

It’s possible that lesson helped Wade in the future, as he learned to take on a slightly smaller role when he teamed up with LeBron James and Chris Bosh later in his career to bring two more titles to Miami.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.